Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest
Poplar Forest is Thomas Jefferson’s personal retreat. It is one of only two homes Thomas Jefferson designed and created for his own use. Designated a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior, today it is an exciting opportunity to “be there at the beginning”— to experience the award-winning rescue, archaeological exploration, and restoration of one of America’s most important national landmarks.
The nonprofit Corporation for Jefferson's Poplar Forest was formed in December 1983 by a group of individuals to lead the rescue of Jefferson’s endangered retreat for the cultural and educational benefit of the public—now and for future generations. In January 1984 the Corporation succeeded in taking title to a 50-acre parcel of land which was all that remained with the original buildings at the heart of Jefferson’s original plantation.
In 1986 Poplar Forest opened to the public for the first time-- in the “before restoration” stage. In the first years, funds were raised to stabilize the historic features, keep the landmark open regularly, complete payment on the first land purchases, begin the state-of-the-art restoration, and start developing Poplar Forest’s tremendous educational potential.
The ongoing land rescue, archaeological exploration, and restoration is made possible entirely through donations to The Corporation for Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, a nonprofit 501c(3) organization. The nonprofit’s mission is to preserve and restore Thomas Jefferson’s retreat so that it can serve the public as an innovative educational catalyst inspiring insight into the past, present, and future.
Awarded the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Honor Award, the restoration now in progress is regarded in the professional preservation community as one of the most important projects in the country. Compared to the other American landmarks such as Mount Vernon and Monticello, Poplar Forest is in the infancy of its rescue and restoration.
Visitors from all 50 states and more than 80 countries have come to Poplar Forest to experience Thomas Jefferson, the private man, and his ideas. They are witnessing archaeologists bringing new information to light and craftsmen painstakingly restoring Jefferson’s ideal space for his personal pursuit of happiness.